Question – CAG plays an important role in ensuring the financial accountability of the Executive towards Parliament. Explain in detail. Also, to ensure the independence of the CAG, mention the provisions mentioned in the constitution. – 20 July 2021
In a parliamentary democracy, the executive is part of the legislature, and it is responsible to the legislature for its actions. Financial accountability is an important aspect of this responsibility. To ensure this, provision has been made in the Constitution of India (Article 148) for an independent office for the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India.
- The Comptroller and Auditor General of India-CAG is an independent authority under the Constitution of India.
- It is the head of the Indian Audit and Accounts Department and the principal custodian of the public sector.
- Through this institution, the accountability of the government and other public authorities (spenders of public money) to the Parliament and state legislatures is ensured and this information is given to the general public.
Financial Responsibility and CAG
- The Public Accounts Committee is one of the most important standing committees of the Parliament. The function of the committee is to examine the annual audit reports of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India.
- The Comptroller and Auditor General presents three types of audit/audit to the President – Audit Report on Appropriation Accounts, Audit Report on Finance Accounts and Audit Report on Public Undertakings.
- The Public Accounts Committee examines public expenditure not only from a legal and formal point of view but also from the point of view of economy, prudence, reasonableness and authority to reveal technical irregularities, so as to avoid wastage, loss, corruption, inefficiency and wasteful expenditure. be brought to the fore.
- In the discharge of its functions, the committee is assisted by the CAG. In fact, the Comptroller and Auditor General acts as a guide, friend and philosopher to the committee.
- The role of the CAG is to uphold the Constitution of India and the legislation of the Parliament in the field of financial administration.
- The accountability of the executive (i.e. Council of Ministers) to the Parliament in the area of financial administration is secured through audit reports of the Comptroller and Auditor General.
Autonomy of the CAG:
- Many provisions have been made in the constitution to protect the independence of the CAG.
- The CAG is appointed by seal and warrant of the President and has a term of 6 years or till the age of 65 years. (whichever is earlier)
- The CAG can be removed by the President only in accordance with the procedure laid down in the Constitution which is similar to the manner of removal of a Supreme Court judge.
- Once retired/resigned from the post of CAG, he cannot hold any office under the Government of India or any State Government.
- The pay and other service conditions of the CAG cannot be varied (reduced) after appointment.
- His administrative powers and the conditions of service of officers serving in the Indian Audit and Accounts Department are determined by the President only after consultation with him.
- The administrative expenses of the office of the CAG, including all salaries, allowances and pensions, are charged on the Consolidated Fund of India which cannot be voted on in Parliament.